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Virgin Holidays

Reaching Destination O2O with Virgin Holidays

Whether businesses like it or not, the world is omnichannel. Consumers don’t see separate channels, they browse and buy in the ways that suit them. The time has come for marketers to reflect this reality in the way they manage and measure their marketing.

The issue is particularly acute for Virgin Holidays who have multiple sales and distribution channels – including web, retail and a call centre – and their research has shown that all of their customers interact online at some stage in their journey to purchase. Given this behaviour, the team at Virgin Holidays knew that without joining online journeys to offline interactions (sales and quotes) they would not be able to accurately measure the ROI of digital investment.

Virgin Holidays worked with Rakuten Attribution to connect their online and offline journeys, to give them a complete picture of how digital marketing influences offline channels and how their customers flow from one sales channel to another. This joined up view has given them a definitive measure of campaign performance to drive effective, data-driven decisions going forwards.

Project program and solution
Email addresses were identified as a consistent customer identifier that could be to be collected across channels. To ensure user privacy, all email addresses are entirely anonymised at all times and appropriate DPA’s were put in place to ensure data could be safely passed from Virgin Holiday’s CRM to the Rakuten Attribution servers.

Multiple points where email addresses could be used to log a touchpoint and make a join were identified:


  • Sales
  • Newsletter sign up
  • Retail appointment requests
  • Brochure requests
  • Interactive map login
  • Call back request


  • Telephone quotes and sales
  • In-store quotes and sales

Rakuten Attribution’s ‘Universal User’ technology uses the unique key to link any number of visits and sales across all online channels and devices, and offline in-store touchpoints and phone calls, to a single user. To make the join Virgin Holidays set up an automated data feed of order information, which runs daily and works retrospectively to pick up any historical activity.

For the first time the team were able to see the true user journey and the how users interacted with – and between – different channels. The accurate, omnichannel data was used as the basis for Virgin Holiday’s dynamic attribution model to give a valuation of channel performance that reflects real user behaviour.

The accurate, attributed performance data is used to track ROI and optimise digital marketing investment through automated reporting and regular insights forums. The power of the data now goes beyond the marketing department and is beginning to be used at a higher level, to support strategic investment decisions.

As a result of the project:

  • Over 200,000 universal user journeys have been joined YTD (2015)
  • The revenue attributed to online marketing has increased substantially
  • The ROI of specific channels, such as PPC and display, has consistently increased
  • Strategic insights are driving increased business efficiency and profitability

Virgin Holidays

What they say
“Ultimately this isn’t a one size fits all environment and for a complex, considered purchase like ours, the marketing channels need to be given the chance to contribute to the purchase. What has become clear is that our path to purchase is longer than we anticipated.

“The power of the data we now have available within the Rakuten Attribution platform means we can better optimize our digital spend to compliment the customer journey. Having linked hundreds of thousands of journeys from online touchpoints to offline interactions, we are in position where the data can be used to influence higher level business strategy. This is a rewarding place to be and one that is not achievable without a long-term partnership.”
James Libor
Marketing Technology
Virgin Holidays